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29 December 2007 @ 11:34 pm
Numb3rs Fic: A Weary Life  
Written for numb3rs100 Challenge #139 – Portrait

Title: A Weary Life
Pairing/Characters: Charlie, Margaret
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 300
Spoilers: UP, Hot Shot
Summary: Charlie never was an early riser like his mother
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

"Charlie! Wake up! You're going to be late for your seminar!"

Charlie grumbled at his mother's cheerful wake up call and pulled the covers over his head.

"Too early..."

"Noon would be too early for you, sweetie," Margaret teased. "Come on. Time to get up."

Charlie reluctantly rolled his way up to a seated position, eyes still closed.

"I'm up," he intoned.

Margaret let out a patient sigh. "It's a start."

Charlie cracked an eye open.

"I suppose I can't call in sick if I'm the one teaching the seminar."

"No, dear. You can't."

Charlie groaned and rubbed his eyes wearily.

"Fine. The earth will keep spinning on its axis if I stay in bed instead of teaching, but I figure you're not letting me go back to sleep even if I don't get up."

"You've got that right, buster," Margaret said with a chuckle. "You'll do great. You always do."

"Thanks, Mom." Charlie picked up the framed portrait of his mother from his nightstand. "You know I love you, right?"

Margaret smiled back from the portrait, her expression softening with affection. "I know, honey. And I love you too. Never forget that." She waved her hands, shooing him away. "Now go! Shower! School! Chop chop! I'll be in the painting of Big Sur downstairs if you need me."

Charlie smiled a bit sadly as he put the portrait back down.

"I miss you, Mom... And your silly pancakes..."


Charlie bolted awake as his alarm blared, knocking the open Harry Potter book on his bed to the floor.

As he sat up, he found his mother's picture face down on his chest, tucked under one arm.
He wiped his tear-stained cheeks and put the picture back on his dresser, taking care to straighten it nicely.

"I really do miss you..."

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on December 30th, 2007 07:38 am (UTC)
Another W! Gah!

A nod goes out to telperion_15 since her Picture of Dorian Gray inspired drabble got Mel and I talking about literary takes on Numb3rs fic. Somewhere in that conversation this afternoon both of us apparently thought of Harry Potter /waves to Cedar/ even though neither of us can recall ever saying it aloud. After the conversation I wrote this drabble and sent it off to her to beta only to have her exclaim that I'd read her mind. Telperion's portrait (and my comment about how it should have been Charlie's book jacket picture to age) had apparently put her in mind of the magical moving photographs in the Harry Potter novels. GMTA :-)

This is one of those rare fic I wrote and managed to finish without ever having even a glimmer of a title. I had such a hard time I resorted to googling the one thing that inspired me: a sliver of Shakespeare. Searching for 'sleep' and 'perchance to dream' brought me to a site with the full text of Hamlet's soliloquy *and* a great video clip of Kenneth Branagh performing it! (You *must* watch! He's one of the best modern Shakespearean actors in popular film.) There are elements of sleep, dream and death in the monologue, which makes it perfect for this story about Charlie and Margaret. The phrase 'a weary life' was plucked from the prose, fitting because Charlie is weary upon awakening into his real - and less pleasant - life as well as his dream one, albeit for different reasons.

This is one of those misdirection stories. /blows a kiss to slashwife who made her try this device/ I wanted people to think this might be Princeton era at first or at least while Margaret was alive. Then it swings into AU territory and one might wonder if it's a crossover. Then Charlie wakes and all is explained by his bedtime reading material. For the record this takes place pre-season, not long after her death (thus the tears and picture clutched to his chest).

I've been trying to make each of this month's drabbles very emotional, but I held back on this one. I figured I'd put people through the ringer enough so I went for more of a loving mother and son vibe for the bulk of it, only going for the gut at the end.

Hey, it's better than killing someone! Hehehe

I confess to being a bit wistful about this being the last fic I write to publish this year.

I also confess to being dead chuffed about having only *20* partial Numb3rs fic on my unpublished fic list. (You don't want to know how high that number was previously.)

/crosses fingers hoping that Defensive Postures gets posted tomorrow as planned after two years of waiting/

Very special thanks to beta melissima for her assistance with this fic.


Emma DeMarais
Jelsemiumjelsemium on December 30th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Confession
NICE! I liked the progression from the reality of Margaret waking her son to get to work, to fading into fantasy of Margaret talking from her portrait. Then the final awakening.

Excellent work, now Margaret had better toddle off because Sirius is holding tea for her! (hee!)
andi: Don & Charlie hugadmiralandrea on December 30th, 2007 09:17 am (UTC)
Nicely twisty and turny, keeping us guessing to the end!

I read all your December stories yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the lot. However, as it was a lot, I didn't want to leave feedback on each. So consider this a general thank you for a varied and interesting series of stories over the month, which were great to read in one big gulp!

And that thanks extends to the whole year's worth of fic you've kept us entertained with. I really appreciate your contribution to our lovely little fandom!
fredbassettfredbassett on December 30th, 2007 10:37 am (UTC)
Yes, lots of twists and turns. You excel at misdirection!

Very poignant and well-imagined.
Karen: numb3rs charliebyrons_brain on December 30th, 2007 12:15 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwww, that was so sweet poor baby Charlie ::snuggles him tight::
jlm110108jlm110108 on December 30th, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
Sniff. You got me again! I'm probably the only person in the world who hasn't read a single Harry Potter book, but I got it anyway. What a sweet story!

CeriseRevecerisereve on December 31st, 2007 08:02 am (UTC)
Kenneth Branagh’s performance of Hamlet is indeed spectacular!!! I’m half tempted to pull out the movie and watch all four hours of it. I’d never realized what a nice analogy some of the language in that soliloquy is with Charlie’s dreams from Hot Shot. Gagh! Genius.

Oh! And thank you for not killing anyone.
telperion_15: Charlietelperion_15 on December 31st, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
Oh Charlie, you poor love...

This fits in really well with those dreams he has about his mother in whichever episode it was (Numb3rs ep titles are on my list of 'things to learn'!).

Lovely *sniffs*

Oh, and it so makes sense that Charlie would be reading Harry Potter (despite the fact it's about a world with no science or math in it! *g*)